Berbere is a punchy hot spice mix from Ethiopia making your own means you can adjust the heat to suit. Muhammara is a glorious, dip-into or dollop-on invention that hails from Aleppo in Syria, but is now popular all across the whole Levantine area.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 2 red (bell) peppers, deseeded and cut into strips
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ cup (50 g) walnut pieces
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- ½ cup (30 g) fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1 tbsp good-quality tomato ketchup
- 1 tsp dried chilli/red pepper flakes
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Berbere Spice Mix
- 1 oz (30 g) chilli/red pepper flakes 8
- ¼ oz (8 g) flaked sea salt
- ¼ oz (8 g) coarsely ground black pepper
- scant ¼ oz (7 g) ground cumin
- scant ¼ oz (7 g) coriander seeds
- 2 g fenugreek powder
- 1 g ground ginger
- ⅓ tsp allspice
- ⅓ tsp ground cloves
- ⅓ tsp ground nutmeg
- seeds from 2 green cardamom pods
For the Cauliflower
- 1 good-sized cauliflower
- 3–4 tbsp olive oil
- 1½ tbsp berbere spice mix
- scant ½ cup (50 g) toasted pine nuts/kernals
- 1⅓ cups (200 g) dried apricots, halved
- 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses, to serve
- 3 tbsp olive oil, to serve
- a handful of freshly chopped coriander/cilantro, to serve
- a small handful of freshly chopped parsley, to serve
- mint leaves, to garnish, to serve
How to Make It
- Preheat the oven to 190˚C (375˚F) Gas 5. To make the muhammara, toss the red (bell) peppers with 2 tbsp of the oil and the cumin and arrange the strips over a large sheet pan. Roast for about 20 minutes, until softened and slightly charred.
- Transfer to a blender and whiz to a purée. Add the walnuts, garlic, breadcrumbs, pomegranate molasses, ketchup, chilli/red pepper flakes and remaining oil and whiz again, until you have a lightly textured purée with the consistency of whipped cream. If the mixture is a little too thick, add some warm water. Season and set aside.
- For the berbere spice mix, grind the spices together using a pestle and mortar, until you have a lightly textured powder.
- For the cauliflower, break the cauliflower into small florets and toss in a bowl with the olive oil and Berbere spice mix.
- Spread over the sheet pan used for the (bell) peppers and roast for about 15 minutes, until the cauliflower is cooked, but still has a little bite. Scatter over the pine nuts/kernels and apricots and return to the oven for a few minutes to warm through.
- Stir the pomegranate molasses and oil together and spoon over the cauliflower. Scatter with the freshly chopped herbs and mint leaves, and serve with the muhammara.